On Wednesday, 23 March, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima began to work on amendments to the Citizenship Law and decided to form a subcommittee for drafting the new version of the Law. Today the Committee reviewed two draft laws submitted by parliamentary groups and a letter by the President of Latvia outlining his proposals for amendments to the Citizenship Law.
“Today the Committee decided to submit for debate in the Saeima a draft law with broader changes of content that will solve the issue of dual citizenship for Latvians in exile and address other pressing problems. The President of Latvia has also submitted his proposals with even broader amendments to the Citizenship Law. We decided to create a subcommittee for drafting the Law in order to compile all these initiatives and take into account the suggestions of experts and the public at large,” explained Ilma Čepāne, Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee.
The Chairperson stressed that in the process of adopting the Law, it is important to take into consideration the opinions of all stakeholders, experts and members of society. Therefore, in the context of impending citizenship reforms, there are plans not only to have the usual discussion of the draft law but also to hold a special conference this summer dedicated to this issue at which constitutional law experts will participate.
Amendments to the Citizenship Law have long been awaited both in Latvia and abroad, where many exiled persons want to retain or obtain Latvian citizenship concurrently with the citizenship of their country of residence. Furthermore, bearing in mind the fact that the Law has not been altered for a long time, it also needs a number of technical amendments in order to keep up with the spirit of the times, indicated Čepāne. At the same time, one has to keep in mind the significance of this Law; thus, in order to achieve high-quality results that are acceptable to all the involved parties, the process should not be hurried. When planning the further stages of work on the draft law, MPs agreed to ask the plenary sitting to set September as the deadline for submitting proposals for the second reading.
While reviewing the amendments to the Citizenship Law, MPs will have on their agenda issues such as acquisition of dual citizenship by Latvians in exile, regulation of dual citizenship for children of Latvian citizens living abroad, the issue of Latvian citizens who obtain the citizenship of another country as a result of a marriage, and simplification of the acquisition of Latvian citizenship by children of non-citizens.
A topical issue will also be the retroactive effect of the amendments to the Law and a possible course of action in cases of revocation, under the law in force, of Latvian citizenship of people living abroad who have obtained the citizenship of the country of their residence.
Saeima Press Service